Google stands firm in defense of Play Store against Epic Games’ demands

Google is pushing back against proposed sweeping changes to its Play Store, put forth by Epic Games, in their ongoing antitrust battle. In a filing late on Thursday in San Francisco federal court, Google argued against Epic’s proposals, stating that they would severely hinder its ability to compete in the market.

Last year, Epic successfully convinced a jury that Google unlawfully stifled competition with its controls over app downloads on Android devices and payments to developers for in-app transactions. Epic’s proposed changes include making it easier for users to download apps from other sources, allowing developers more flexibility in offering and charging for purchases, and bringing its Epic Games Store to Android without delays and barriers.

Google responded that Epic’s demands would make it nearly impossible for the company to compete effectively. Wilson White, Google’s head of government affairs and public policy, emphasized that Epic’s proposals would harm the privacy, security, and overall experience of consumers, developers, and device manufacturers.

“Epic’s demands would harm the privacy, security, and overall experience of consumers, developers, and device manufacturers,” he said. “Not only does their proposal go far beyond the scope of the recent U.S. trial verdict — which we will be challenging — it’s also unnecessary due to the settlement we reached last year with state attorneys general from every state and multiple territories. We will continue to vigorously defend our right to a sustainable business model that enables us to keep people safe, partner with developers to innovate and grow their businesses, and maintain a thriving Android ecosystem for everyone.”

Google also pointed out that a settlement reached with states and consumers regarding the Play Store addressed the alleged anticompetitive conduct presented by Epic at trial. The settlement, which included a $700 million payment by Google, introduced reforms such as allowing more alternative billing options for in-app purchases.

The hearing on the proposed injunction is scheduled for May 23, and Google is standing its ground against Epic’s calls for major reforms. Meanwhile, in another significant antitrust case, Google is in the midst of closing trial arguments with the Justice Department and a group of states in a Washington, D.C. courtroom over claims that it unfairly dominates the market for mobile web search.

Written by Maya Robertson


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